Don’t lose sight of security
Crime is decreasing in SA and, thanks to a R2bn allocation in the latest national Budget, police numbers are to be increased by a further 12 000 – but that does not mean that homeowners can afford to get lax about security.
“The latest available crime statistics, which show a significant drop in violent crimes, are very encouraging,” says Harcoruts Africa CEO Richard Gray, “as is the fact that the government is putting really significant resources into safety and security.
“However, we don’t believe this means that the private security companies are going to go out of business any time soon – or that security considerations should now take a back seat when people are house hunting or trying to sell their property.”
For example, he says, those who are considering buying a home in a security complex or estate should not just assume it will be crime-free because there is a wall around it or a single access point with a boom. “You will be paying good money for peace of mind if you buy into such a complex so you will want to be sure that the electric fence actually works, or whether there is a 24-hour guard on the gate, or whether there is an emergency response plan.
“You also can’t divorce any development from the surrounding area, so you need to take a good look at that as well. You don’t want to have to ‘run the gauntlet’ through a bad neighbourhood every time you go out or return home to your secure enclave.”
Similarly when it comes to freehold suburban properties, says Gray, prospective buyers need to check that alarm systems actually work, that the necessary burglar guards are already in place, and that the house has adequate fencing or walling.
“Apart from anything else, it can cost thousands of rands to install security systems and equipment in a house that does not have them, and once you have paid a deposit and the transfer costs, you might not have the enough cash to do so. In addition, living in an unsecured property will most likely mean higher premiums on your household contents policy.”
He also says the need for good household security is not just an SA problem. “All over the world, we see people having to be more careful about their personal safety and having to take more responsibility themselves for the security of their families and belongings. And it certainly makes sense for those who are trying to sell their property to ensure that they can present it as secure, or it is most likely that prospective buyers will simply lose interest.”
ISSUED BY HARCOURTS AFRICA